In the age of social media, anyone can be a journalist. In a recent article about bad employee behaviors gone viral, Erik Deutsch of the LA-based ExcelPR group said that the ability to post anything in real time and make it accessible to the entire world has forced companies to rethink risk management. “If someone was mistreated in a store 15 years ago, they might make a scene and tell their friends, and that would be it,” he says. “Now, they post it online and it can become a sensation.”
As this year’s headlines around workplace harassment, bigotry, and violence suggest, individual departments are struggling to mitigate people-based risk on their own. HR is overwhelmed with paperwork. PR is scrambling to react quickly enough to control the narrative when bad news breaks. Security teams are often ill-prepared to handle allegations that boil down to “he said, she said” disputes. IT is asked to manage a growing set of channels not necessarily optimized for security. The new reality of people risk is exposing major cracks in traditional organizational structures. Unless companies adopt new approaches to people risk management (PRM), it will be increasingly difficult to stay ahead of potential threats.
So what’s on the horizon for people risk management? Moving forward, we will see significant shifts in structure, process, and technology to promote deeper collaboration between HR, risk, digital communications, and IT. While organizations will take a variety of approaches to mitigate these new threats, we predict three general trends…
In July 2018, Uber announced that it would begin conducting continuous background checks on their drivers. Although the company has had a difficult history when it comes to culture issues and passenger safety, this particular decision moved Uber ahead of the curve. It showed they understood that whether caused by executives, employees, or independent contractors, enterprise risk stems from individuals whose behaviors can change over time—and that after years of negative press and internal shocks, they were finally doing something about it.
Like Uber, many companies today are starting to recognize the limits of traditional background checks and looking to recurring, real-time screening solutions to manage employee risk. Nearly half of employers today are scrambling for ways to identify high risk behaviors in their employees, but according to the Society for Human Resource Management, only 11 percent of companies formally screen past the initial hire. This means that nearly 9 in 10 companies are depending on pre-hire background checks to keep their organizations out of the headlines.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how enterprise risk has changed in the last decade and highlight why companies today must extend their screening practices beyond the initial hire.
Earlier this year, The Washington Post announced that the Virginia criminal database has been missing over 750,000 cases, including over 300 murder convictions, 1,300 rape convictions, and 4,600 convictions for felony assault. That means that over the last decade, thousands of firearm purchases, new hires, and crime scene investigations were completed without this information. The story raised hairs about how the background check process breaks down and left us wondering how so many records are falling through the cracks.
This incident reveals a larger point about the broken nature of our systems and processes for vetting—and as rates of bigotry, violence, and other high-risk behaviors grow to record highs, businesses are some of the ones paying the biggest price. Why are companies having a harder time screening and vetting people today, and what can they do to stay ahead of the risks?
In this blog, we’ll discuss the why the current system of background checks is broken, how makeshift methods can expose your company to legal risks, and how automated online screening helps fills the gaps for a more complete and effective investigation.
Each year, the Oxford English Dictionary selects a Word of the Year based on its ability to reflect the ethos of that year and its potential as a term of lasting cultural significance. Though previous words, such as “selfie” and “post-truth,” have revolved around politics or pop culture, the Word of the Year for 2018 could not be more relevant to business. After narrowing all of 2018 down to a few phrases and going through rounds of debate, Oxford has chosen a word that speaks to what we’ve gone through this last year and, more importantly, where we need to go. The Word of the Year 2018 is toxic.
With one word, Oxford called out the elephant in the room: toxic behavior has infiltrated the business world. Though initially used to describe the substances and waste generated by mass industry, more and more people in the world today use ‘toxic’ to describe workplace afflictions. As people in 2018 demanded safe and welcoming workplaces, denounced company leaders for enabling harassment, and took to protest in the Google walkouts, the world became awake to toxic work environments, toxic masculinity, and toxic culture. Regardless of fault, corporations have become a focal point of harmful behavior, and people are tired of it.
According to the Gallup 2018 Global Emotions Report, fewer and fewer people today are well-rested, respected, or finding enjoyment in daily life. Instead, they’re reporting record-high levels of worry, sadness, stress, and anger. As headline after headline hits businesses for the decisions they’ve made or the cultures they’ve enabled to fester, it’s important to recognize the financial and reputational costs of bad business. But to avoid future financial and reputational fallout, business leaders need to recognize the sheer anger emerging from consumers and workers, and the ways they communicate this through turnover, legal actions, and protest…
The walkout against sexual harassment at Google last Friday turned heads. Following an investigation by the New York Times revealing that Android co-founder Andy Rubin was paid a $90 million exit package after being credibly accused of sexual misconduct, employees walked out across Google’s global offices. The world watched as over 20,000 Googlers demanded better reporting, greater transparency, and the end of forced arbitration around sexual harassment. Their actions carried such weight in the broader conversation that some have called this a “new kind of activism.”
Sexual misconduct has been previously exposed at large and powerful Silicon Valley firms, so what made this event so unprecedented? As a company, Google represents the pinnacle of corporate culture, offering everything from gourmet cafeterias to free time for side projects. So when more than 20 percent of Google’s workforce walked out in protest, they exposed a glaring gap in the company’s culture and shed light on its consequences. While backlash to harassment has often come in the form of lost revenue or negative press, the Google walkouts showed that employers who fail to engage cultural issues don’t just risk customer attrition or litigation. They risk losing large swaths of top talent, even if they’re Google…
When it comes to American politics, there is no shortage of commentary about the role of social media. Given the pivotal role that social media played in the 2016 presidential elections, voters today are more aware of the role of social media than ever before, and more engaged when it comes to casting their ballots. Early voting in the 2018 midterms is record-high, and voters are using all tools available to learn about who they are electing.
To bring clarity and transparency to what these candidates are saying online, Fama has analyzed the public social media profiles of candidates in 16 of closest races for governor and senator. Our analysis, totaling 32 political candidates, covers over 236 public social media accounts and nearly 153,000 posts spanning a time period of over 10 years. In particular, we sought to answer a few questions around their online behavior:
‣ Which hashtags, mentions, and words do Democratic & Republican candidates use most?
‣ How many posts do Republican and Democratic candidates have? Governors and senators?
‣ What kinds of positive and questionable behaviors do candidates exhibit on social media?
‣ How often do these candidates post each month, especially as Election Day gets closer?
Here are the candidates we analyzed, and the behaviors we found…
Just how costly is a bad hire? It depends on who you ask. If you were to Google “cost of a bad hire,” you’d find percentages, arguments, and even calculators promising to show you the “true cost of a bad hire” while offering little insight beyond the fact that they cost more than the worker's salary and turnover. As a result, the discussion on the direct and indirect costs of bad hires has become somewhat obscured. Some sources cite the “astronomical costs” of an unfortunate appointment while offering few measurable impacts, while others claim that a bad hire costs $240,000 while citing outdated and unavailable sources.
None of these sources tell you how often you’re making a bad hire, making it hard to know how these figures apply to your company. They often don’t tell you how the calculations are made or where the numbers come from, making it impossible to say whether the issue is of genuine business concern. When it comes down to it, they offer vague ideas about how to definitively avoid paying the costs of a bad hire. All of this has led HR to rely on "hope for the best" approaches to personnel management, with no clear insight into their hiring risk or effective actions they can take to manage it.
How much are toxic hires costing your organization? Relative to hiring a standard, non-toxic worker, a single toxic employee on a team of 20 will cost $25,600 per year due to increased voluntary turnover and absenteeism alone. This means that a company of 1,000 employees is losing at least $1.2 million to toxic workers each year…
From a young age, we’re taught to go to the doctor regularly to catch potential health issues before they arise. But as we all know, many people wait until something goes wrong before they seek help. Rather than work to stay ahead of potential illness, people fall into the trap of thinking they’re invincible. Unfortunately, we see many companies make this same mistake. When it comes to managing their workforce, companies are notorious for choosing the emergency room when regular, preventative care would have done the trick.
Now that employee conduct and culture are becoming increasingly tied to a company’s reputation, companies who limit their background checks to the hiring process are missing a wealth of critical information about their hiring risk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee has a tenure of 4 to 10 years. This means that companies who rely exclusively on pre-employment background checks may be missing up to 10 years of important job-related issues per employee.
There’s a lot that can happen after an employee is hired. A senior level director may play nice during the interview but later take to the internet to publicly shame a fellow employee. A customer service rep may clear the background check and later embezzle funds from customers. A government employee may pass a 12-step interview process and security clearance and still be found to have engaged with terrorist activity. In each case, the employee displayed red flags that could have alerted the employer and helped them stop the issue. Instead, the employer missed the signs and was left asking, "How did we miss this?"
TV and film studios are scrambling for ways to protect themselves from the controversy and expense of a social media scandal, without having to actually read through thousands of old tweets. The proliferation of digital content has outpaced the industry’s tools for staying on top of it all, leaving companies wondering what to do—and who will be next.
With Roseanne's scandal costing over $60 million in lost ad revenue and Gunn being just the latest star to run into financial and reputational losses over online content, it has become clear that Hollywood has deeply entrenched issues when it comes to screening and managing stars for reputational risk online. At this rate, the industry is slated to lose over $1 billion in the next year over social media issues alone.
Shouldn’t companies be able to mitigate risk up front, before another high-profile social media or sexual harassment scandal arises…?